POBS | Blank Product Onboarding Workflow Process (For Suppliers)

POBS | Blank Product Onboarding Workflow Process (For Suppliers)


Blank Product Jobs can be imported to the Product Onboarding System via a dedicated CSV Import function. This is a fundamental requirement as the information determines who is responsible for 'Creating' the products, and who is responsible for the 'Approvals' once the products are complete.

Please Note: A CSV Import Template has been attached to this article for you to download and use to help get you started.

Step 1 - CSV Data & Formatting

The Blank Product Import CSV consists of several ‘Required’ and ‘Optional’ columns. 
Each populated row in the CSV will automatically create a new Blank Product in the system, which gets listed as a Job. eg if 10 rows are populated in the CSV then that would equate to 10 jobs being added to the system / Dashboard. 

For detailed information on each column, and to see reference data, please see: Blank Product Import Reference >>
(Please note: this document is intended as reference only and cannot be imported.)
Top Tip: Multiple Jobs can be ‘grouped together’ by using the same External ID when importing - External ID is a searchable field in the Job List View which allows specific job groups to be targeted for reporting purposes.

IF using Excel, the file must be saved as a .CSV

IF using OpenOffice or equivalent, save as .CSV and be sure to set be following options when saving:

  • Enable 'Edit the Filter Settings'

  • Keep Current Format

  • Change the character set to UNICODE (UTF-8)

    • Enable 'Quote all text cells'

Step 2 - Import

Please Note: Prior to importing, ensure that you have relevant Pending and Live product categories created in CPP. Each Category has a Unique 5 digit ID that must be specified in the Import CSV for new products to be added. Any newly created Categories will take 30-60 minutes to index so imports during that time will result in error. 

Jobs can be imported by uploading a formatted CSV to the ‘Virtual Product Jobs Import’ button, located in the Job List View.

Step 3 - Manual Allocation*

If a Creator User was NOT allocated as part of the CSV import, then they must now be allocated manually - this can be done per job via the Job Info Page, or in bulk via the Job List View. This is required to progress the job status from ‘Waiting to Start’ to ‘Allocated’.

To bulk Allocate, navigate to the Job List View;
  • Select the jobs you wish to allocate and use the dropdown menu and click ‘Bulk Edit

  • Under Allocated User, use the drop-down to select a Creator User

  • Click Save to confirm allocation.

Once a job has been allocated, the status will progress to ‘Allocated’ and is reflected in the Dashboard metrics.

*Allocated jobs can be Reallocated via the job information page. 

Step 4 - Starting a Job

The allocated Creator User can start the Job by clicking the ‘Start’ button from within the Job Information Page of each individual listing. Starting the Job changes the status to ‘In Progress’ and is reflected in the Dashboard metrics.

The Blank Product associated with the Job can be accessed via the ‘Open Product’ button within the job info page. Clicking this will take you directly to the product setup screen to configure the Blank Product as necessary. The Creator User is responsible for creating the Blank Product prior to progressing the status. 

Step 4a. 

It is at this stage where the Creator User must configure the Blank Product based on the requirements. 

To learn how to create Blank Products, you can enrol for free on our dedicated eLearning platform, Gateway Academy >>

The most relevant Courses and Chapters for creating Personalised Virtual Products are:

For written articles and short video tutorials on creating Blank Products, please see our Knowledge Base >>

Step 5. Submitting for Approval

Once the allocated Creator User is happy with the product, they can click the ‘Submit for Approval’ button on the job information page to request P1 Approval for that particular job.  

The job status will then progress to ‘Awaiting Supplier Approval’ and the products will be added to the dedicated 2 stage Product Approvals facility within CPP.

*If a job is submitted for approval by mistake, or the Creator User has subsequently identified an issue that needs to be addressed prior to approvals, the job can be ‘Recalled’ from the Product Approval facility. This will revert the status back to ‘In Progress’. This serves as a fail safe mechanism to cater for all possibilities.

Step 6 - P1 and P2 Approvals

*Please note: Any Approval Users must have relevant user access to the pending and live category folders in CPP to perform Approvals. 

Only Users associated with the specified P1 and P2 Approval Companies on the job import sheet can Approve / Reject products.
The same Company can be specified for both Approval stages, but it should be considered that associated approval users will see both approval stages.
Both P1 and P2 Approval Processes are mandatory and cannot be bypassed.

Product Approvals contains all products that have been submitted by the allocated Creator Users. 

By default Product Approvals displays a thumbnail list of submitted products, with a search facility to filter based on Product SKU or Supplier.

The P1 / P2 Approver can perform 2 tests, depending on what suits the approval criteria:
  • PRINT TEST - Can be used to interact with the product via a generic Smartlink to generate standard, print resolution artwork files that are reflective of what will be sent to the Supplier to fulfil when an order is placed. This is essential for Blank Products.

  • PREVIEW TEST - If your Blank Products have been configured to load in a specific Smartlink Application (via App Defaults), the Preview Test will load and display the product in that app. This allows the user journey to be reviewed if necessary.

Once the relevant tests have been conducted, the Approver can use the buttons to ‘Approve’ the product, or provide comments and ‘Reject’ it.

When the product passes P1 Supplier Approval, then the status of the job is updated to ‘Awaiting P2 Retailer Approval’. 

When the product passes P2 Retailer Approval, then the status of the job is updated to ‘Ready for Publishing’. The product is then automatically moved to the associated ‘Live’ category folder in CPP so that Smartlinks etc can be created.

IF the product is Rejected during either the P1 or P2 Approval, feedback should be offered detailing the reason for the rejection and what changes are needed in order for it to be approved successfully. 

Rejection automatically reverts the status back to ‘Allocated’ with a warning icon to highlight to the Creator User that the job has been rejected. All rejection feedback is recorded against each job via the ‘History’ menu in the Job information page. This serves as information for the Creator User to update the product accordingly. The Creator User then has to Start the job again, implement the changes and resubmit for Approval.

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